On Heroes →

Ashley Nelson-Hornstein ·

An introduction to Annie Jean Easley, a 34-year veteran NASA mathematician and woman of color who worked at the agency from 1955 to 1989.

Recently, someone multiple generations ahead of me and well respected in Silicon Valley told me that I’m a pioneer. The implication was that I’m the first to look like I do and do what I do professionally. That I’m creating a new path for future generations to follow. That’s a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of someone still establishing herself - it’s also an incorrect assertion that discredits the achievements made by my predecessors. I can’t entirely fault this individual’s ignorance. The historical contributions of minorities and women in America haven’t been remembered with particular clarity and have often been purposefully denied their due credit.